Monday, August 08, 2011

Of trickles and gushers

I loved Luci Shaw's chapter on journaling in Breath for the Bones. I could have underlined the whole thing. I think one reason this chapter resonated with me so much is because Shaw has articulated my experience in many areas.

  • The way beginning to write sometimes turns on, in my brain, a Pied Piper's song for words and images.
"I find that as soon as I put words and ideas onto paper, in my notebook ... they begin to gather to themselves more images, more words and ideas" (Kindle Location 1394).

"I write my journal which is where most of my seed poems are recorded" (KL 1421).

  • I often begin a poem (any piece of writing for that matter) without knowing how it is going to end. The way inspiration comes to me during the process of work is one of the reasons I chose the Madeline L'Engle quote as my blog description: "Inspiration usually comes during work rather than before it."
"The writing, the music, the painting, the art will begin to open doors as it advances, without my always knowing where it is going or what the end result will be. The rational, planning mind does not leap ahead of the intuitive, imaginative mind. They work in tandem" (KL 1421).

  • I have also been often surprised by how much I find to say about some topics. Some subjects tap into deep, formerly undiscovered reservoirs within me (I think of it as finding a gusher).
"Writing is a process in which we discover what lives in us. The writing itself reveals what is alive" - LS quoting Henri Nouwen (KL 1430).

  • I have been a faithful journaler with much bookshelf space given to fat 3-ring binders filled with handwritten words...
    "The task of the writer is to create a rich, immediate, usable past" - LS quoting William Saroyan (KL 1439).

... until 2010. And then those jottings dried to a trickle. It took me a year and a half to fill up a 3-subject coil notebook. I just started a new one at the beginning of August.

What happened? I'm not sure exactly. Distraction? So many words floating around, any more seemed extraneous? Bored with the sound of my own musings? I think above all, I lost sight of the point. Luci's image of the lighted display of the path of an airplane at the beginning of the chapter reminds me about it.

"I want to see clearly the country I have come from, and what lies ahead, and how fast and direct is my journey toward it" - KL 1384.

Reading this chapter couldn't have come at a better time for me. So far this month, the journal-writing is flowing. I feel I have reunited with an old friend - myself. I may just be needing more 3-subject notebooks before the year is up!

This post is part of the book discussion of Breath for the Bones, over at The High Calling. Read Laura Boggess on Chapters 7 and 8 ("Be Brave with Words"), then follow the links at the bottom of the article to more discussion of these chapters.


Maureen said...

I've enjoyed reading your and others' reflections on Luci Shaw's book.

Anna said...

I used the same phrase "resonated with me" in regard to the chapter on journaling. I've filled dozens of spiral notebooks, and now I use the computer, it's so much faster and easier.

It's interesting that today I stumbled upon your other blog at Ann Voskamp's (I was drawn by the picture and title "promptings"), and here also! I see in both places how long you've been blogging and how much! I'm enjoying your words.

violet said...

Thank you, so much Maureen, and Anna! On reading others' reflections on these chapter of Luci's book, I note how many of us choose the same quotes and have similar reactions. She has hit a common chord.

Laura said...

I like the idea of a journal being that map that guides. It does for some ways. Makes clearer what God is telling me, helps me meditate on the important things better too.

There was so much good stuff in these chapters, no?

Patricia said...

Thank you for your words and honesty. We've all lost that direction at times... glad you are writing again!